Everyone has had a weird roommate (if you haven't, it's safe to assume you were the weird roommate). In college, you were equipped to deal with questionable situations like finding your framed prom picture in your roommate's underwear drawer — which you were perusing for a perfectly valid reason — but at what point can you expect your roommate to not be batshit crazy?
Don't get your hopes up. "Adult" living situations are still weird as fuck. Why? Because people are crazy and that includes you and whoever you end up sharing a bathroom with. Everyone's quirks are amplified when you're sharing an apartment the size of your parents' guest bedroom (which you'll probably be doing if you plan on living in a metropolitan area and weren't presented with a trust fund shortly after stumbling out of your mother's uterus). If you want to maintain even a shred of sanity until you can afford to live on your own (aka never), navigate your roommate woes with the wisdom of Abbi and Ilana, the ladies of Broad City.
Personal Space vs. Common Space: Not a Thin Line
If your roommate is unclear on which activities fall into the "best done in private" category (anything involving genitalia, hair removal, toenails, Creed, or any combination of the aforementioned), be open and direct about what you would prefer to never see ever. That "naked person" you're living with who feels the need to cook in the nude? It's okay to tell him that not only could frying bacon while pants-less end really badly for him, it also makes you want to stick a hot fork in your eye every time you hear something sizzle. Just be prepared for him to let you know that your couponing-induced mouth-breathing makes him want to shove a Xanax down your throat and move your clipping to your own room posthaste. Successful living situations rely on compromise.
You Don't Even Live Here!
So your roommate's grody boyfriend or girlfriend has shadily moved in on the sly without your permission. You might assume that the best course of action is to have a straightforward conversation with your roommate about the fact that your living room is not a video game and occasional masturbation lair. That's where you'd be wrong. If you found your current living situation through Craigslist or other dubious means, you may never communicate with the other person whose name appears on your lease aside from the occasional text about why your utilities were so high last month. You're on your own, so fight fire with fire. And by fire I mean an equally bizarre, very present friend all your own (preferably someone entertaining who you enjoy having around). Freeloaders repel one another. It's science.
What's Mine Is Mine
Not only are people crazy, they're also hungry ALL the time — which brings us to the problem of food theft. First and foremost, label all your edible items (and any non-edible possessions that could be perceived as food). This is less to protect your expensive cheese and more to fire a warning shot. One that says, "fuck with my food again and I will out-crazy the shit out of you."
If the perpetrator were a sane, rational person, you could confront her and hope for a reasonable response. But as we covered earlier, people are weird (including you), so act swiftly. Start by hiding appetizing food in unappealing packaging. Anything with "hemp protein" or "gluten-free" on the label is a safe bet. If your sneaky, ravenous roommate isn't fooled by your packaging tricks, buy your own mini-fridge and secure your food with a lock. Sure, you may look a little nuts, but she was the one who ate an entire tub of funfetti frosting hidden inside a jar of prune juice. Craziness is relative.
Flipside: Nobody's perfect, so what should you do if you accidentally eat your roommate's food after getting too high to work Seamless? Deny, deny, deny. Act positively outraged by her assumption that you would ever eat her leftover tofu pad thai. (But, just out of curiosity, does tofu normally taste kind of soapy? Asking for a friend.)
Hot for Neighbor
So you have a brutally hot neighbor who you know to be your soulmate. He doesn't appear to feel the same way...yet. Maybe he isn't technically your roommate, but you made him three copies of your key (in case he loses two and has to save you from a fire or tell you about a "really intense" dream he just had) so he might as well be. Your goal is to try to run into this gorgeous individual as often as possible while embarrassing yourself as little as possible. Easy enough, right? Wrong. Here are a few helpful notes from season one of Broad City: Memorize his schedule so you can plan on bumping into him when you look your best. If you have to walk past his door a few times before that happens, so be it. Also, offer to do favors for him. (Favors include anything and everything that does not include a trip to North Brother Island.) Who knows, your generosity of spirit may finally convince him that God brought you to the same roach-infested six-floor walkup for a reason. He can only fight real estate destiny for so long.
If you've spent enough time in therapy to comfortably discuss your own roommate horror stories, feel free to share your most batshit coexisting experiences in the comments. And if you need more valuable advice on living in confined spaces with people who have boundary issues, watch the season 2 premiere of Broad City on Comedy Central, Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30c.
Lily Butler is an Associate Content Producer for Studio@Gawker.